The collectible state quarter series (Gotta catch em all!) are the stars of recent U.S. coinage. We often forget nickels, but two new Lewis & Clark themed designs are being produced in 2004. The spring design is a rendition of the original Indian Peace Medal that the Corps of Discovery offered as good will tokens to Native American leaders during the expedition. The fall design is an engraved model of the convertible keelboat used to sail the Missouri and cross the country.
I'm not so much a nickel fan, but I love the Lewis & Clark story. Undaunted Courage is one of my favorite books.
(link via Girl Hacker's Random Log)
Am I the only one who finds it strange for the US to be promoting a good will token toward Native Americans? Our relations with the Native American Indian were anything but peaceful and one of good will.
I see your point. It's a fact of history that the U.s. Government treated the Native American Indians as children who were in their way and handed out these trinkets from their "Great Father" in Washington to wow and appease them. Commemorating this on a coin may be offensive to descendants of a tribe who were fooled by the ultimate insincerity of these good will tokens, but I think these coins are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery. Lewis & Clarks' trip was a huge moment in the early history of our country and the relations they made with the Native Americans they met are arguably the most important facet of their expedition. Commemorating the trip and ignoring the meetings between Lewis/Clark and the tribes of the Missouri and Pacific Northwest wouldn't be telling the whole story.
I don't have an answer and I respect your point. I know it would be inappropriate to put an image of the Trail of Tears on the reverse of a coin, but I suppose it would at least be more honest to history if that's what you're looking for.